Cell organelles are the units within a cell that serve a specific function. They are similar to the organs in a human's body, with each organelle serving its own distinct purpose. Students are introduced to cell organelles in middle school and then study cell organelles at length in high school biology. Learning about cell organelles is a daunting task at first for students. However, with the help of interactive games and activities, learning about cell organelles is both successful and effective.
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Creating visual cell models is a hands-on activity that allows students the opportunity to get creative. Cell models are as simple as drawing or as elaborate as three-dimensional models. Creating a cell model reinforces the concepts about cell organelles that students have been learning as a class. It also gives them the opportunity to work independently or collaborate as a group, depending upon the teacher's preference. Other cell model ideas include using candy or other food to represent organelles, utilising illustrative computer programs or making three-dimensional hanging models.
Playing cell organelle jeopardy in the classroom is a great way to review concepts for an exam. Students work individually or pair off into groups, depending upon the teacher's preference. Sample Jeopardy categories include "Name that Organelle," "Identify the Function" and "Animal or Plant Cell." There are many other categories and review concepts to incorporate into jeopardy, depending upon the specific class and curriculum. The winning student or team receives educational incentives such as a free homework passes or bonus points.
Comparing the organelles of a cell to other concepts assists students in better understanding cell organelles. By drawing comparisons and analogies, students connect a specific organelle to its specific function. Compare cell organelles to human organs or buildings in a city. For example, the cell's nucleus is similar to a human brain and a cell wall is similar to skin. Having kids explore these comparisons reinforces concepts and makes the concepts more applicable.
Flash cards are an effective way of helping students memorise cell organelle definitions and functions. Traditional use of flash card involves having the cell organelle name on one side of a card and its name or function on the other. Other ideas include having a picture on the flashcard instead of the name to help students visually identify the cell organelle. Let students review flash cards independently, in groups, at home or in the classroom. In-class flash card activities include having students race against one another for the most correct answers or playing against the teacher or in groups.
There are many Internet resources available that help students review and study cell organelle concepts. Study games available online are a great resource for students because they appeal to student's interest in technology and gaming. Also, Internet review games are beneficial for teachers because they do not require lesson planning, and are also an effective way of having kids spend any free classroom time.
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